Archive | February, 2011

PTR 4.1: What Lies Ahead

MMO-Champion released some glimpses into the upcoming content patch 4.1 that should be hitting a PTR near you very soon. So, without further adieu, let’s dig in!

(A full list of changes can be seen here. To those wondering about the color scheme, blue = originally posted by Blizzard, while green = posted by MMO-Champion)

Remnants of the Gurubashi Tribe
Originally released in Patch 1.7, the classic 20-man raid Zul’Gurub will open its gate once again, bringing new stories, new encounters and fully refined items! Zul’Gurub is now a level-85 Heroic 5-man dungeon, to help the Cataclysm dungeons provide a higher tier of contents. Players may find level 353 epic items in this Heroic dungeon. You have to meet a mininum average item level of 346 to enter it.

The Return of Zul’Aman
The fan-favorite level 70 10-man raid Zul’Aman is also reborn as a level-85 Heroic 5-man dungeon. Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub will both appear in the Heroic Dungeon list in the LFD tool, providing level 353 epic loot. You also have to meet a mininum average item level of 346 to enter.

Since Zul’Aman is back, you might be curious on whether the rare mounts will be back? Yes, we’re proud to annouce that new rare-drop Raptor, Tiger and Warbear mount will be available, while the old mounts still have their unique beauty in hand. We will share a lot more on obtaining the new mounts.

This is Blizzard’s compromise to people claiming that there isn’t enough content for non-raiders to play through, or at least that’s what it seems like. It’s odd, though, that these are only available in heroic difficulty, as I thought that a major complaint about the Cata dungeons was that there weren’t enough level 85 normals to wade through before you stepped into the big leagues that are heroics. Maybe they’ll remedy this situation with normal versions of ZA and ZG, who knows?

We also see three new trinkets that Ret pallies the world over will want to consider:

Essence of the Eternal Flame

Vessel of Acceleration

Apparatus of Khaz’goroth

Profession-wise:

Engineering: Synapse Springs now increases your highest primary statistic instead of Intellect.

Tooltip correction, nothing to see here.

Class change-wise, we see:

Holy

  • Divine Light now costs 30% of base mana, down from 33%.
  • Flash of Light now costs 27% of base mana, down from 30%.
  • Walk in the Light (Mastery) now removes the cooldown on your Word of Glory.
  • Word of Glory now has a 20 sec cooldown.
  • Aura Mastery now improves the effect of Devotion Aura, Resistance Aura, and Retribution Aura instead of all auras.
  • Conviction now procs from non-periodic spells.

Protection

  • Divine Guardian now has a 3 min cooldown, up from 2 min.

Retribution

  • Divine Storm now grants a charge of Holy Power if it hits 4 or more targets.
  • Sacred Shield now cannot occur more than once every 60 sec, up from 30 sec.

The big ones for us are the changes to DS, SS, and WoG.

If you’re one of those paladins that threw out WoGs like candy, your end has come. This will hurt our survival, of course, but I always like leaving the healing to the healers. Adding a cooldown to WoG places the spell in the “OH SHI” category, although it’s a short cooldown, so more like the “oh damnit” category.

I have a feeling the SS nerf is more to address PvP balance than PvE. Still, it was a very nice thing to see proc on fights like Chimaeron. I’m sure we’ll still pick it up, but it’ll be less of a hero than it is now.

Finally, the change to Divine Storm is a very necessary, and long-awaited, buff. Our inability to maintain Inquisition during AoE phases crippled our DPS, and now that DS produces Hand of Light damage, which itself can be buffed by Inquisition, it makes maintenance of our holy Savage Roar all the more vital.

Another side bonus to the DS change: it makes the question of when to use DS very simple to answer.

Anyway, there are a lot more changes coming, so I highly recommend you click the link at the top of the post and visit MMO-Champion for more!

Facerolling 212: Blackwing Descent, Section 2

Now that almost a month has passed since my last BWD post, so it seems time to write another. Enveloping Shadows, as a guild, has not seen Nefarian yet, so I’ll be covering the other two bosses I have yet to detail: Maloriak and Atramedes.

MALORIAK

If you’re like me, you’re staring at the boss wondering just what the hell he is. Anyway, shake that off; it has to die, so time to focus.

This fight consists of three mini-phases, and two main phases. The first main phase will be from 100% to 25%, and the second will be sub-25%.

From 100%-25%:

Maloriak will use two casted abilities throughout the fight: Arcane Storm and Release Aberrations. Arcane Storm can be interrupted willy nilly, but the one to be careful with is Release Aberrations. Your add tanks will want a few of those to go out, so you have to pick and choose which to interrupt. We usually let the first four cast, and interrupt any after that until green phase. This will make sense in a minute.

Aside from his casts, Maloriak will go through three sub-phases: red, blue, and green.

Red – Clump up on the tank, run out of the group if you get Consuming Flames.

Blue - Spread out (though for melee, this is a bit difficult). Run out if you get Biting Chill. If you get tombed via Flash Freeze, call out for it to be broken. I believe you can bubble out of it, though I haven’t been frozen in a long while.

Green - Add tanks will bring all of the adds together. Switch to Seal of Righteousness and AoE to your heart’s content. Divine Storm, here’s your chance to shine.

You should, ideally, go through two sets of phases before you reach 25%, so keep at it.

Note for interrupts: if you’ve been assigned to interrupt Release Aberrations, make sure you stop the cast during his green phase as well!

Sub-25%:

Pop cooldowns and burn that melon farmer. ┬áStay away from the Prime Subjects; these fixate onto people, and if you’re close to one when it spawns, it’ll be on you until the day you die.

Ice balls (Absolute Zero) will fall from the air and explode when they hit the ground, knocking people back and dealing considerable damage. Stay away.

I shouldn’t have to say this, but don’t stand in front of the boss as he’ll cast Magma Jets. Also, don’t stand in the leftover fire.

Congratulations, the dragon-thing is now dead! Collect purps.

ATRAMEDES

Yup, you’re fighting a blind dragon.

Right, moving on. Since the dragon is indeed blind, this fight revolves around sound. Rather than a giant game of Don’t Wake Daddy, this is a pretty simple fight.

Here’s your sound “bar.” It appears in the middle of your screen halfway toward the bottom. You may have to move your UI around but trust me, it’s there.

The blue circle inside of it will get bigger with the more sound you have. DBM also displays a list of raiders with high sound, so you could use that as well, I suppose.

As with most dragons, Atramedes has two phases: a ground phase and an air phase.

Ground phase:

Stay at max melee range, as his hit box is HUGE. This will be very helpful in dodging his Sonar Pulse, which are four discs he sends out from himself that will increase your sound if you get clipped by them. Give them a wide berth.

Atramedes will also do an unavoidable AoE called Modulation. Don’t fret too much about this.

The major mechanic of the ground phase is his Sonic Breath. Atramedes will spin toward the raid member with the highest sound and start to cast Sonic Breath.

I’d explain more of this, but I ended up making a slideshow a week ago when we were working on the fight to help people with this exact mechanic. Anyway, click here (no worries, there is no sound, just awesome visuals).

Your raid may handle Sonic Breath kiting differently, but the most important part is that if you’re not being targeted, just get away from his head. Running through the dragon just before he starts his cast is a very effective way to do this.

Air phase:

While he’s in the air, he’s going to cast Sonic Breath on the raid member with the highest sound, and the speed at which he tracks the target is directly related to how much sound the target has. Eventually, the tracking will be so fast that the person he’s chasing could die, so a gong is usually hit to reset the sound.

A couple notes-

  • If you’re being chased, you can just barely hit him with Judgement for the speed boost from Long Arm of the Law if you skirt the perimeter of the ring.
  • If you’re assigned to hit a gong, make sure you get away from it as soon as you ring it.

Aside from that, this phase is all about staying out of fire and sound discs. After a short time, Atramedes will land again and you’ll get to do it all over.

That’s all there is to the fight. The best time for cooldowns is, obviously, during his ground phases.

And another one bites the dust! As always, comments and questions are most welcome!

Reforging Our Chains

Edit: My Ret 101 page is now updated for patch 4.0.6, so click on the link above to take a look!

Since I’ve already (mostly) covered the 4.0.6 changes with respect to Ret, there’s just one final thing I wanted to touch on: reforging.

With 4.0.6 and our new Mastery, our secondary stat priorities have changed. According to Redcape’s new spreadsheet, our stat priorities are as follows:

Strength > Hit (to cap) > Expertise (to cap) > Mastery = Crit > Haste

One of the biggest debates about PTR testing has been,

“Does reforging everything to Mastery provide for the maximum amount of DPS possible?”

Back when our Mastery scaled at 2.5% per point, I’m sure this would’ve been a great strategy, but as you can see, Mastery is on equal footing with Crit.

For now, I’d recommend reforging any excess Hit, Expertise, and Haste into Mastery, and leaving your Crit alone.

Granted, Crit has a cap, but I don’t see us hitting any secondary stat cap anytime soon, so don’t be afraid to reforge a Haste/Mastery piece into Haste/Mastery/Crit.

Anywho, that is all for now. Enjoy the patch!

As the PuG Turns

I’ve been leveling a priest alt with Anafielle, the main proprietor of Righteous Defense (ha), on and off for a little while now. The other night we were tearing it up in Howling Fjord as dual Shadow priests, but eventually we got bored of questing and decided to hit some dungeons.

Last night, at approximately 10pm…

Ana (playing Aneliese) wanted to stay Shadow, so I (playing Lysozyme) switched into my old Disc spec to see if I still loved casting Power Word: Shield and Renew. We grabbed a guildmate on his warlock and ventured into the depths of Azjol-Nerub.

Act 1, Scene 1

As you can see, Ironbladex didn’t want to do the second boss. Mind you, this was not a heroic in Wrath; this was a normal dungeon that we all were running for XP and loot. In an instance as short and straightforward as normal Azjol-Nerub, I don’t see why anyone would want to skip any bosses.

Granted, we did skip the second boss regularly (well, as long as we had a rogue or something) in Wrath whenever it popped up as our daily heroic, but in that instance it was the Emblems of Frost (or Heroism, Valor, or Conquest; whichever was relevant at the time) we were really after.

After this short discussion, we were standing in front of the first boss…

Act 1, Scene 2

Let’s recap what happened here. To illustrate, I’ve provided a picture of the trash before the first boss; more specifically, a screenshot of the “all three” pulls the tank is talking about.

Three pulls designed to be taken separately, all aggroed onto a level 73 death knight.

I shielded him while he ran in, but I just kinda took a step back, realized that there was no way in Molten Core that he was going to survive, no matter what I pulled out of my healer bag of tricks, and just stopped healing him.

He promptly left after that and we were lucky enough to grab a very good and polite death knight tank who finished the rest of the instance without a problem.

So, to any aspiring dungeon runners, I give you a few words of advice based on my adventures here:

This isn’t Wrath of the AoE King anymore. Know your limits, and those of your group.

But most of all, don’t be a douchebag.

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On a sidenote, Ana has decided to move on to greener pastures. In short, she is looking for a four night a week guild that’s working on progression encounters and in need of a tankadin. Check out her Twitter or drop her a line at anafielle at gmail dot com!